“The success of a short story is simple, it must have a beginning, a middle and an end. The reader must never want to put it down.” – Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl was a huge part of my childhood reading. My sister and I had most of his books, from his single stories, picture and rhyming books and even a short story anthology. There was something magic about his way of storytelling that was the perfect mix of entertainment and genuinely engaging storyline. And of course who could forget the iconic illustrations by Quentin Blake!
One winning formula that I loved with a lot of his stories was the wily nature of the hero of the tale who would use cunning and brains in quite a humorous way to overcome their situation. For example in George’s Marvellous Medicine, my favourite part was always when George mixes his most foulest mixture of medicine to administer to his awful grandmother. And in Fantastic Mr Fox when he pulls of his amazing heist is another classic moment.
There is usually quite a clear division between the hero and the villain and some kind of comeuppance is dealt out in the funniest way possible. Roald Dahl’s books have given us some of the most memorable characters in children’s literature. Who could forget the zany Willy Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas? Or magic Matilda and her awesome powers?
He has also given us some iconic story imagery such as the spectacular chocolate factory or James’ giant peach. It’s not even just great stories and characters, he also included lots of nonsense words into his world of tales that make it so much more fun and interesting (I won’t try and spell any here!)
As well as growing up with the books, a lot of his stories have been turned into some amazing films. The BFG, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach and The Witches were the ones that truly enchanted me as a child but even now, movies are still being made and I could happily revisit the books over and over again.
If I had to pick a favourite (although that’s a hard decision to make) I would have to say that Danny the Champion of the World as I was captivated with the relationship Danny has with his father and the way they work together to exact their revenge on the nasty landowner.
Imaginative, fun and still going strong, I think Roald Dahl’s books will live forever and I’m sure my own future children will love them as much as I did and still do!
If you loved Roald Dahl books as a child or still do today I would love to hear from you! Favourites? Recommendations? Views on movie adaptations? Please feel free to comment, tweet or facebook your thoughts!